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August 28, 2012
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Did You Get the E-mail?
Group Travel to Cuba Stymied by U.S. Government Agency
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Discount on Disney during Travel Exchange
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Web Site for National Parks, Federal Lands is Redesigned
7 Steps on the Logical Path to Marketing Success
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Industry News and Updates
Member profiles are getting a brand new look and include new information! Pump up your profile and get better appointments for Travel Exchange this January! You should have received an e-mail from NTA earlier today with a link to an electronic questionnaire. Simply fill it out (it’ll only take a few minutes) and return it back to us by next Tuesday, Sept. 4. Then, our new technology will work its magic to create a new profile that makes your company stand out!
New profile features include:
- A place for head shot photos of your company contacts (even your CEO)
- Plenty of space for additional company photos and logo
- Links to your social media sites
- An area to spotlight your special interest markets and destinations
Plus, the keyword search is more intuitive!
Appointment scheduling starts Sept. 12, so make sure you fill out the questionnaire as soon as possible to maximize your appointments! If you did not receive an e-mail with the survey link, or have questions about the new profile facelift, contact Jason Terwilliger at 859.264.6546 or e-mail him here.
The program that allows "people-to-people" travel to Cuba has been significantly hampered, as described in an article in last week’s Detroit Free Press. President Obama loosened travel restrictions to Cuba in January 2011, allowing groups to visit and promote cross-cultural understanding. In order to take groups to visit Cuba, U.S. organizations must be licensed by the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control. (Guidelines are here.)
But most organizations that applied for license renewals this year have heard nothing, which means planned trips can’t go forward. That’s bad news for Kate Simpson, president of Academic Travel Abroad, a licensed travel service provider for a number of nonprofit organizations that offer travel to Cuba.
"The word from OFAC for the past month was they were overwhelmed and understaffed and, therefore, unable to handle the volume of applications," said Simpson. "Last week, the script changed. Now OFAC tells us there are ‘several reasons,’ unspecified, for the standstill and no determinations will be made for at least a month."
Simpson suggested OFAC could offer extensions until they catch up with renewal applications, but no such offer has been made, and the organizations she works with will soon have to start canceling trips.
"The sad reality is that travel organizations are disappointing their members and losing credibility and revenue every day that goes by," she said. "Eventually OFAC’s inaction will lead to the loss of American jobs—exactly what this administration is trying so hard to avoid."
NTA has long supported the freedom to travel to Cuba, said President Lisa Simon. "We applauded the decision last year to open up travel to Cuba and are disappointed to see this interruption," she said.
Two weeks ago, 32 Contact attendees showed their support of NTA’s government relations activities by participating in the Contact 5K Fun(d) Run along San Diego Bay. NTA’s Fun(d) Runs (there are two: one at Contact and one at Travel Exchange) provide you with more than just exercise; they are opportunities to spend quality time with your colleagues while helping the entire industry with every step you take.
It’s just $25 to participate, and the funds raised are used to help NTA’s government relations team represent the best interests of your business and the travel industry in Washington, D.C.
"If you’re a businessperson or you work for a business in this country, it’s important to know what’s going on in Washington, because it impacts travel and impacts our careers," said 2012 NTA Vice Chair Mark Hoffmann, CEO of Sports & Leisure Travel and recipient of the James D. Santini Award. "It’s not sexy, and it’s not something that people have time for. That’s why NTA does it for us. Because the association takes the time and spends the dollars, our members don’t have to."
Show your support for your industry and your association. Sign up now for the Travel Exchange 5K Fund Run, 6:15 to 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday (Jan. 22) at the Hilton Orlando. Everyone can participate—walkers, runners, even skippers! Or, if you’d rather invest in your beauty sleep, feel free to put your $25 down and "Sleep in for G.R."
The 5K is limited to 220 people, so sign up today! "It’s a relatively, healthy and painless way to contribute to something that’s terribly important," says Hoffmann.
And, don’t forget NTA’s annual Grassroots Symposium held each spring in Washington, D.C.; another great way to get involved!
The U.S. Gulf Coast is readying for the arrival of Hurricane Isaac, with potential damage to coastal and inland areas from storm surge, wind and rain in the coming days. To see which areas are affected, check on transportation routes, or get the latest travel advisories, consult these online resources:
And as always, you can post updates or ask questions for other members on the NTA Facebook page. Even if your site is not in the path of Isaac, you can share information. For example, the Visit Tallahassee Web site provides current lodging inventory, rates and others details (pet-friendly lodging, handicapped-accessible rooms, etc.) for travelers and residents affected by Isaac. Gary Stagner of Visit Tallahassee said his organization is posting the most current information for the benefit of those forced to evacuate.
If your family travels with you to Orlando for Travel Exchange and they plan to visit the parks (with or without you), note that Walt Disney World is offering discounted tickets. Available through Disney’s Meeting & Convention Tickets program are savings of 10 percent on full-day and multi-day passes, along with after-2 p.m. and after-4 p.m. tickets. The latter, priced at $69 and $55 respectively, are exclusive to the meetings market. The prices listed on the online ticket store, not available at theme park ticket windows, reflect the discount and include tax.
In addition to the discount, the tickets include a complimentary bonus visit to an additional Disney Experience at any one of the following (additional details are listed on the Web site):
- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
- Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
- DisneyQuest® Indoor Interactive Theme Park
- ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex with 30 minutes of game play at the PlayStation® Pavilion
- Disney’s Winter Summerland or Disney’s Fantasia Gardens miniature golf courses (before 4 p.m.)
- A round of golf at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course
NTA’s Summer Member Referral Drive is almost over! Have you referred a potential member yet? You still have time to e-mail your suggestions! For each potential member you refer to us before Aug. 31 (that’s Friday!), you’ll receive $100 when they join before Nov. 1.
Let’s do the math: 1 referral who joins=$100; 3 members who join=$300; 7=$700 … and so on. There’s no limit! And it’s so easy. All you have to do is:
- Send your referrals’ contact information to Cheryl Adams at NTA headquarters before Aug. 31.
- If you’d like to send a personal e-mail to your referrals explaining why you belong to NTA, feel free to use these online tools to help shape your message. That way, when they’re contacted by NTA, your referrals will already be familiar with the association.
- When your referral becomes a member by Nov. 1, you’ll receive $100.
Referring potential members is a great way to customize your network, expand your business opportunities and support your association!
Here’s who has referred members so far (Thank you!):
- Sandy Haines, Myrtle Beach VB
- Doug Risser, Menno Travel Service
- Jessica Herring, Dubai Tourism
- Deb Duerr, Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp
- Charlie DeLorme, San Juan Economic Development & Visitors Services
- Laura Vandegrift, Sedona Tours & Guide Svcs-Sedona Wine Country Tours
- Marcia Shelton, America’s Premier Shopping Places (she’s already earned her $100!)
What are you waiting for? E-mail your referrals to Cheryl today!
Recreation.Gov has been retooled. The interagency Web site that guides visitors to national parks, wildlife refuges, waterways, forests and recreation areas has a new design, improved navigation tools and expanded content.
The redesign of www.recreation.gov is part of a multi-year strategy to engage visitors with enhanced interactive content and more multimedia, mobile, trip-planning tools. Steve Richer, NTA’s public affairs advocate, discussed the need for a beefed-up Web presence with National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis more than a year ago.
Highlights of the updated site include:
- Explore Trip Ideas: Interactive maps help visitors discover points of interest on public lands when planning trips to popular destination cities like Atlanta, Miami, Las Vegas and San Francisco.
- Go Lists: Find highlights of places to go, events and activities at federal sites across the country with topics including "Day Hikes for Weekend Warriors" and "Civil War 150th Anniversary."
- Discover Great American Adventures: More in-depth articles and destination spotlights that feature a variety of experiences and adventures found only in America.
The Web site remains a work in progress, and a spokesperson from one of the agencies overseeing the site said they hope to soon make it possible for tour operators to conduct online bookings on Recreation.gov.
Marketing strategies can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. Success can be boiled down to seven straightforward steps, though, according to John Jantsch on DuctTapeMarketing.com.
You want potential customers to take the following steps:
- Know: become aware of your product, service or destination
- Like: show a little interest in you
- Trust: develop confidence in you
- Try: sample a taste of your product
- Buy: make a purchase
- Repeat: come back for more
- Refer: start others down the path
To learn more details, follow this link to the full article.
Travel Alberta seeks a Business Development Director, Travel Trade USA.
Travel Alberta is the tourism marketing agency of the Government of Alberta that is poised for its journey of excellence to become Canada’s pre-eminent tourism marketing agency.
As a Business Development Director with Travel Alberta, you support the tourism marketing efforts of Alberta, Canada, within the United States. You establish, maintain and support relationships with travel trade accounts; plan Alberta events and training for travel trade; and promote Alberta through various sales and marketing initiatives and strategic marketing partnerships.
Your knowledge of the tourism industry and ability to work with large organizations will enable you to act with conviction while providing strategic comments on the promotion of Alberta with the Travel Trade market. Your demonstrated business success and travels within the U.S. will enable you to develop new industry relations, utilize existing industry relations and create awareness for Alberta in the U.S. Your energy and leadership will help position Travel Alberta to be at the forefront of Canada’s travel industry by facilitating and assisting in the development of positive stakeholder relations, marketing and service programs.
To apply to this three-year term contract, e-mail a résumé and cover letter to HR@TravelAlberta.com by Sept. 16, 2012.
- Levying hefty fines for offending airlines, the U.S. Department of Transportation is proving to be a tough customer in its enforcement of new laws aimed at protecting passengers’ rights.
- The travel alert for Egypt has been lifted. Beginning in March, the U.S. State Department warned U.S. travelers of possible political unrest during the lead-up to presidential elections in Egypt, which occurred in June.
- The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will determine if smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices can be used safely during a flight. One function not under consideration: a phone call.
- Hotwire has released its Travel Savings Indicator, which features the top five cities in North America where hotel, air and car rental rates have dropped the most, as compared to this time last year.